A cabin with a balcony may seem like a splurge but there are many cruise ship passengers who prefer these accommodations, with their ocean views and doors that open to a private, or at least semi-private, outdoor space.
Here are 10 reasons a balcony cabin may be for you.
Outdoors anytime: For those who really want to experience the sea, having a balcony means you can step outside whenever you want, even in your skivvies – though be aware your neighbors may be able to peer at you from their adjacent balcony and others may be able to see you from above. It's a substantial perk to get up in the morning and be outdoors, without having to walk up to the pool deck or out on the promenade. Note: There was a time when smokers booked balconies so they could smoke whenever they liked, but most major lines now ban the practice. You can still smoke on balconies on Holland America Line.
Fresh air: Open your door so you can hear the calming sound of the sea and let in the sea breezes – something you can't do with a windowless inside or even an outside cabin (since those windows don't open). Be aware, though, that if you leave your door ajar the air conditioning may shut off.
Outdoor dining: Order coffee and sip while watching the sunrise. Or have a room service meal outdoors. Princess Cruises offers an Ultimate Balcony Dinner featuring lobster and champagne (for a fee). Luxury ships also offer balcony meals served with panache.
Feeling of space: Cruise ship staterooms are generally not as large as hotel rooms. For anyone who fears being claustrophobic, a balcony brings an illusion of more space. Pull open your curtains and a wall of glass showcases the sea. Step outside and you have at least a few more feet to call your own – though be aware balconies vary in size. When choosing a cabin, make sure the balcony is large enough to accommodate deck chairs, a table, lounge chairs or whatever else you desire. Balconies aft are considered precious by experienced cruisers because they tend to be larger (plus have wonderful views of the ship's wake).
Romance: For couples, having a balcony means an outdoor space to smooch. Pour a little something from the mini-bar, sit hand in hand and watch the sunset. Or return to your cabin after a night of dinner and dancing and privately watch the stars. Although you may not be in a totally private space, there is something romantic about the sea as a backdrop.
Views galore: With a balcony, you can zone out watching the waves whenever you want. In places such as Alaska, with its glaciers and whales, you'll want to have a pair of binoculars handy. Wherever you are, celebrate your own sailaway – catching views of the White Cliffs of Dover or locals waving from waterfront condos in Fort Lauderdale or whatever. In port, you can sit on your balcony and, depending on your position, watch activity on the pier. You may spot, for instance, crew pulling ropes and the last passengers running for the ship before it pulls away.
The balconies in these luxury suites are even bigger than the balconies in your home. Check out the amazing views.
New ships have a high percentage of balcony cabins and this has brought the price down. You may pay only $100 per person more than you would for a cabin with a window that doesn't open. It's worth the splurge if you plan to spend time in your stateroom, less so if you plan to be out and about day and night.
Peace and quiet: Assuming you don't have noisy neighbors (talking on their cellphone or otherwise shouting), a balcony is a wonderful place to read a book or have a deep think, away from what can be a constant sound of live music and other enthusiastic entertainment in areas such as the pool deck. The balcony is your space, even if just to take a snooze.
Time out: Say you are having a tiff with your traveling companion or otherwise need alone time. With a balcony, you are assured a place to go. In tropical locations, a balcony with a lounge chair is the perfect place to banish a partner who snores. It's also a place where you can hang out in the middle of the night if you can't sleep. Adults traveling with kids can put the youngsters to bed and spend adult-time nearby.
Smelly sneakers: Cruise ships have rules about not hanging things from your balcony due to safety considerations. Still, if you've been tromping in mud or otherwise have damp sneakers or swimsuits, you can tie them down in your outdoor space.